Alleged Kidnapper Could Face Death Penalty if Convicted

Alleged Kidnapper Could Face Death Penalty if Convicted

Accused Kidnapper May Face ULTIMATE Capital Punishment – Death Penalty

( – On Friday, September 2, teacher Eliza Fletcher left her home just after 4 a.m. to go for a run in her Memphis, Tennessee, neighborhood. The kindergarten teacher was never seen alive again. Now, the man who is accused of killing her is possibly facing the death penalty.

The Kidnapping

Fletcher, a kindergarten teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, went for a run every morning. Authorities reported she took the same route near the University of Memphis each time. While running down Central Avenue in the city, a man reportedly forced her into a dark-colored GMC Terrain. Investigators revealed the kidnapper stalked her before pouncing. The SUV remained in the parking lot for four minutes before it was driven away.

Just before 7 a.m., a man was riding his bike along the road where Fletcher was kidnapped and found her broken phone and Champion sandals on the ground. He gave the items to her family. About an hour later, Richard Fletcher III called the police and reported his wife missing.

A search for Fletcher began immediately. The items found at the scene were sent to a lab for testing and officers released photos of the victim running as well as the SUV they suspected the kidnapper was driving. The next day, authorities found the vehicle and detained Cleotha Abston, a convicted kidnapper who once spent 20 years in prison.

On Labor Day, police discovered a body near the location where Abston was allegedly seen cleaning his SUV. The next day, they identified it as the married mother.


When Abston was initially charged, it was with kidnapping and tampering with evidence. Authorities claim DNA found on the sandal at the scene belonged to the suspect. However, after Fletch’s body was officially identified, they upgraded his charges to murder in perpetration of kidnapping and first-degree murder.

Abston reportedly has a long record that also includes rape.

In Tennessee, someone charged with first-degree murder faces either life imprisonment without parole, life in prison with the possibility of parole, or the death penalty. The only exceptions to capital punishment are for those who were younger than 18 years old before they committed the crime or people with intellectual disabilities.

Prosecutors will now decide what sentence they plan to ask for when Abston goes to trial. Aggravating factors will likely play a factor in their decision, for instance, the fact that she was killed during the commission of a felony or if the suspect is accused of sexual assault, which has not been alleged at this time.

What charges do you think the suspect should face if convicted?

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